Married in London
by Janis Ian
We’re married in London
But not in New York
Spain says we’re kosher
The states say we’re pork
We wed in Toronto
The judge said “Amen”
And when we got home
we were single again
It’s hard being married
And living in sin
Sometimes I forget just
Which state I am in
Thank God I’m not Catholic
I’d be a mess
Trying to figure out
What to confess
My passport in Sweden
Says I’ve got a wife
Amsterdam tells me
I’m partnered for life
But back in America
Land of the free
I’m a threat to the
If I were a frog
Here’s what I would say
It’s hard being green
It’s hard being gay
But love has no colors
And hearts have no sex
So love where you can
And f*ck all the rest.
Honey came to visit me at work this afternoon, a little while before a couple of women peddling Aflac insurance arrived. One of the ladies, a tall blonde, kept looking at me with an air of familiarity. After answering a barrage of questions in an attempt to determine where our lives might have previously intersected – like where I graduated from and worked previously – she inquired if I am married.
Taken aback, I paused for a second before saying, “Partnered.” She seemed a little confused, so I reached over and patted Honey on the knee as I said, “This is my partner.” Considering I shocked myself with that statement, I can’t begin to imagine what she must have thought.
I despise being asked about my marital status. Calling it a “sore subject” would be severely underestimating how I feel about it. I am just as committed to my relationship as any other married person, and I refuse to label myself as single or unmarried just because the government doesn’t recognize my union. Yet, technically, I cannot claim to be married. Until we receive some form of legal recognition of our relationship, we are in limbo and completely disregarded by most of society.
We never figured out why we looked so familiar to one another, but further conversation revealed her to be socially conservative. I hope my honesty gave her some food for thought, but that’s probably being a little overly optimistic.
I stumbled across this lovely marriage certificate for gay unions online and wanted to share it here.
It reads as follows:
“Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments.” – Shakespeare
“From every human being there rises a light that reaches straight to heaven. And when two souls that are destined to be together find each other, their streams of light flow together and a single, brighter light goes forth from their united being.” – Baal Shem Tov
This certificate celebrates before all those present that on _____ at ___________________________, a loving and binding commitment was entered between __________________ and ____________________.
We pledge to each other to be loving friends and partners; to talk and listen, to trust and appreciate one another, to respect and cherish each other’s uniqueness, and to support, comfort and strengthen each other through life’s sorrows and joys. We further promise to share hopes, thoughts and dreams as we build our lives together.
May we grow our lives ever entwined, our love bringing us closer. We shall endeavor to establish a home that is compassionate to all wherein the flow of the seasons and the passages of life are revered and honored. May our home be forever filled with peace, happiness and love.
Update: I originally published this post on August 4, 2007. I am happy to say things have changed quite a bit since then when it comes to issues with LGBT equality. Although we still have a ways to go before achieving our goals, at least things are moving in the right direction.
I was asked by a visitor of this site to provide some clarification on why I believe this country treats me as a second-class citizen. Here are a few of the reasons why I feel that I and other gays and lesbians are being discriminated against simply because of sexuality.
There are over 1000 legal protections that automatically come with marriage, which gays are not allowed to have (except for one state) and none are recognized federally. Even civil unions carry no weight on a federal level.
There are many places in this country where a homosexual can be fired simply for being gay, since homosexuality isn’t covered under the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Currently, 33 states allow firing based on sexual orientation and 42 states allow firing based on gender identity. The federal government doesn’t seem to care.
There is currently a bill in my state legislature that would prohibit public colleges from providing same-sex partner benefits to their employees, a reaction to one college deciding to offer them.
Foster Care & Adoption
Many states do not allow homosexuals to adopt or foster children.
Many gay couples are torn apart because they fall in love with someone that lives in another country. Since they can’t marry, the foreign partner can’t automatically become a citizen, which would be the case with a straight marriage.
Health Insurance Benefits
Since we can’t marry, our partners aren’t covered by our insurance plans at work. A few companies and states are beginning to offer benefits to same-sex couples, while the federal government turns a blind eye to the injustice.
Gay aren’t allowed to serve openly in the military, although studies have shown that countries that allow gays to serve don’t have problems with morale (the main reason given by our government).
The list goes on and on…
My initial contact (sent May 31, 2007):
Dear Ron Paul,
As a gay man, I would really like to see you take a strong stance on gay rights as you have done with the war and immigration. I read that you are a libertarian and when I googled that term this is what I found:
Libertarianism is a political philosophy maintaining that all persons are the absolute owners of their own lives, and should be free to do whatever they wish with their persons or property, provided they allow others the same liberty and avoid abusing their liberty.
How can you NOT support gay rights and equality if you truly believe the above statement?
Response from campaign:
Dr. Paul voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment, one of only a few Republicans to do so.
Thanks for contacting us,
Ron Paul 2008
According to the research that I have done, Dr. Paul voted against the FMA only because he believes that federal law should not trump state law, not because he believes in protecting or expanding gay rights.
I have not received a reply back from the Dr. Paul’s campaign. Here is an image of the email correspondence with the last names blocked out.
One of my coworkers is getting ready to be married for the fifth time. He’s running around the workplace beaming with pride, expecting everyone to be as elated about it as he is. While I would like to share in his joy, I just can’t feel anything but resentment knowing how strongly he feels about banning gay marriage.
It’s amazing to me that the same crowd that preaches family values and the sanctity of marriage doesn’t see a problem with multiple weddings and divorces, or the trail of broken homes and shattered lives of children left in the wake. Where is this so-called “sanctity” when vows aren’t being honored and unions last from a few hours to a few years at most?
Anti-gay conservatives are constantly using verses from the Bible to “prove” their viewpoints that homosexuals are sinners and damned to hell, but they never talk about the multitudes of verses dealing with God’s negative views of divorce and remarriage. It’s easy to justify something when you strongly desire it to be that way.
I guess the Cheyenne Indian proverb that says “Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins” would apply in this case. If everyone who’s opposed to my lifestyle had to view the world through my eyes, they might see things a little differently.
NOTICE: This list uses sarcasm to point out the ignorance of arguments against same-sex marriage. It helps if you read it with a sense of humor. Just for the record, I am gay and support marriage equality for all.
- Homosexuality is not natural, much like eyeglasses, polyester, and birth control are not natural.
- Heterosexual marriages are valid because they produce children. Infertile couples and old people cannot get legally married because the world needs more children.
- Obviously gay parents will raise gay children because straight parents only raise straight children.
- Straight marriage will be less meaningful, since Britney Spears’s 55-hour just-for-fun marriage was meaningful.
- Heterosexual marriage has been around for a long time, and it hasn’t changed at all: women are property, Blacks can’t marry Whites, and divorce is illegal.
- Gay marriage should be decided by the people, not the courts, because the majority-elected legislatures, not courts, have historically protected the rights of minorities.
- Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are always imposed on the entire country. That’s why we only have one religion in America.
- Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people makes you tall.
- Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage license.
- Children can never succeed without both male and female role models at home. That’s why single parents are forbidden to raise children.
- Gay marriage will change the foundation of society. Heterosexual marriage has been around for a long time, and we could never adapt to new social norms because we haven’t adapted to cars or longer lifespans.
- Civil unions, providing most of the same benefits as marriage with a different name are better, because a “separate but equal” institution is always constitutional. Separate schools for African-Americans worked just as well as separate marriages will for gays & lesbians.
UPDATE: As everyone knows, same-sex marriage is now legal in the United States. Even so, this post from 2006 continues to be one of the most visited on my site. Although I didn’t know who the original author was when I first posted it, I recently discovered it was created by The Gator Gay-Straight Alliance at the University of Florida. Enjoy!